Top five watering holes: Badr Benjelloun

Part six of a series on where Beijing residents enjoy a beverage (or two). This round is with entrepreneur, IT specialist, and former full-time bartender Badr Benjelloun.

“Beijing has changed a lot over the past few months and the Olympics have left a scar on the face of the city’s drinking establishments. However, some bars / restaurants have managed to consistently get my patronage.

1. Salud: I’ve been going there over the past few months quite consistently. I love the atmosphere, the homemade rum, and the mix of locals and expats. It’s a bit of a pain to get there from my area but completely worth it. Add the great environment in Nanluoguxiang, with the hutongs and the locals, and you get a great experience!

2. The Rickshaw: Yes, they have a few service problems but overall that’s been the place that got most of my drinking moolah the past few years. I know almost everyone in there and it makes it comfortable. It’s my local basically! The grub is nice and they still make great quesadillas and serve one hell of a stiff drink. The owner, Kris, has been around for a while in the Beijing scene and deserves a lot of credit. The current manager, Andy, bends backwards to make sure everyone is happy.

3. Peter’s Tex Mex: A bit weird to include this one in my list of watering holes, but when I want good value, this is where I go. Best Tex-Mex in Beijing bar none and they have a great selection of wines at prices slightly above supermarket rates. The staff is friendly, the place is clean, and it’s a nice quiet hideaway.

4. Wain Wain: One of the city’s best-kept secrets. Hard to beat for a little mid-week beverage overlooking the city lights in a cosy environment. They have practically doubled their prices for the Olympics but still run some pretty good specials.

5. Kokomo and Q Bar: These two are tied because they are the only two places to make a decent Mai Tai which is one of my two favorite drinks. Kokomo even offers two varieties, an authentic one and a Hawaii Mai Tai. Q makes a hybrid Mai Tai that just rocks and had they managed to keep their patio opened longer, they would be in sole possession.

Posthumous mention: Maggie’s. Spare me the jokes here! Despite the shady nature of the establishment, they offered a great mix of atmosphere and DJing night in and night out! The cocktails were solid and affordable when compared to some of these new places opening left and right.

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Previously:
Elisabeth Tchoudjinoff & Katrina Arndt, designers
Paul Adkins, entrepreneur
Chandler Jurinka, Local Noodles
Kevin Shen
, T3 Terminal
Steven Schwankert, SinoScuba

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